Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Debate games happen

All this stuff about candidates and debate fairness (or the lack thereof) reminds me that this sort of thing has happened before in Washington, and ironically Joel Connelly was present then as well.

In 1992, I was a low-level campaign staff member for the Patty Murray campaign. (Field work, of course.) I wish I could remember all the details, but this pre-dates the explosion of the internet, so a half-hearted Google search doesn't reveal much.

There was some kind of forum or debate scheduled in Longview between Murray and the Republican candidate, Rod Chandler. The sponsor was the League of Women Voters. Joel Connelly had travelled south with the Murray campaign and was going to cover the debate/forum or whatever it was. There was a large and enthusiastic crowd assembled.

Shortly before the event, we found out that Murray would not be allowed to speak because Chandler had accepted an invitation from a different League chapter elsewhere in the state. Something about League rules or such. So it's not exactly new that Republicans will play games with debates, especially when they are losing.

The crowd, which included many Democrats, was displeased, but not as displeased as Connelly, if my memory serves me well.

Since he had travelled south with the campaign, he was now stuck in Longview, and his story was gone. I don't recall him doing much more than complaining bitterly, and I can certainly understand why.

But it fell to me to get him to the bus station, of all things. It was only a few blocks away, and although I offered him a ride, he decided to walk. And so Connelly walked off into the Longview night, alone and without his story.

So the moral of the story is: don't invite Joel Connelly to your debate, it's bad luck.

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